I&M’s ‘Neighbor-to-Neighbor’ program offers help with electric bills

Indiana Michigan Power’s Hoosier customers who are having difficulty paying their electric bill and who meet eligibility requirements may be able to get some help from their neighbors.

I&M customers have donated more than $10,000 to help out fellow customers through the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program. Now, I&M’s Neighbor-to-Neighbor program is accepting applications from income-qualified Hoosiers for one-time assistance in paying their I&M bill during July or August, the hottest months of the year.

I&M launched the Neighbor-to-Neighbor fund last year with a $50,000 company contribution, and customers contributed an additional $10,700 to help their neighbors. Last winter, the fund helped pay the bills of 147 I&M customers.

An option offering customers the opportunity to help their neighbors appears on monthly bills. Customers can simply check the box and specify the amount they want to contribute above their bill amount.

Later this summer, I&M plans to offer customers the opportunity sign up online for a monthly contribution; a one-time contribution; or to “round up” their bill to the next whole dollar, contributing the excess to the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Fund. For example, if a customer’s bill is $94.25, the customer can choose to pay $95, with a donation of 75 cents going to Neighbor-to-Neighbor.

To qualify, customers must have a past-due bill and meet the guidelines of the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LiHEAP) along with other eligibility standards. I&M is partnering with Dollar Energy Fund, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which in turn works with agencies that offer services where our Hoosier customers live.

Customers in Allen, DeKalb, Steuben and Whitley counties can apply for help through Brightpoint at 800-589-3506.

I&M is headquartered in Fort Wayne, and its 2,370 employees serve more than 597,000 customers.